As the periodic bloodshed continues in the Middle East, the search for
an equitable solution must come to grips with the root cause of the conflict.
The conventional wisdom is that, even if both sides are at fault, the Palestinians
are irrational "terrorists" who have no point of view worth listening
to. Our position, however, is that the Palestinians have a real grievance:
their homeland for over a thousand years was taken, without their consent
and mostly by force, during the creation of the state of Israel. And all
subsequent crimes - on both sides - inevitably follow from this original
This paper outlines the history of Palestine to show how this process
occurred and what a moral solution to the region's problems should consist
of. If you care about the people of the Middle East, Jewish and Arab, you
owe it to yourself to read this account of the other side of the historical
The standard Zionist position is that they showed up in Palestine in
the late 19th century to reclaim their ancestral homeland. Jews bought
land and started building up the Jewish community there. They were met
with increasingly violent opposition from the Palestinian Arabs, presumably
stemming from the Arabs' inherent anti-Semitism. The Zionists were then
forced to defend themselves and, in one form or another, this same situation
continues up to today.
The problem with this explanation is that it is simply not true, as
the documentary evidence in this booklet will show. What really happened
was that the Zionist movement, from the beginning, looked forward to a
practically complete dispossession of the indigenous Arab population so
that Israel could be a wholly Jewish state, or as much as was possible.
Land bought by the Jewish National Fund was held in the name of the Jewish
people and could never be sold or even leased back to Arabs (a situation
which continues to the present).
The Arab community, as it became increasingly aware of the Zionists'
intentions, strenuously opposed further Jewish immigration and land buying
because it posed a real and imminent danger to the very existence of Arab
society in Palestine. Because of this opposition, the entire Zionist project
never could have been realized without the military backing of the British.
The vast majority of the population of Palestine, by the way, had been
Arabic since the seventh century A.D. (Over 1200 years)
In short, Zionism was based on a faulty, colonialist world view that
the rights of the indigenous inhabitants didn't matter. The Arabs' opposition
to Zionism wasn't based on anti-Semitism but rather on a totally reasonable
fear of the dispossession of their people.
One further point: being Jewish ourselves, the position we present here
is critical of Zionism but is in no way anti-Semitic. We do not believe
that the Jews acted worse than any other group might have acted in their
situation. The Zionists (who were a distinct minority of the Jewish people
until after WWII) had an understandable desire to establish a place where
Jews could be masters of their own fate, given the bleak history of Jewish
oppression. Especially as the danger to European Jewry crystalized in the
late 1930's and after, the actions of the Zionists were propelled by real
But so were the actions of the Arabs. The mythic "land without
people for a people without land" was already home to 700,000 Palestinians
in 1919. This is the root of the problem, as we shall see.